The War on Methane and Freedom

In 2012, the Sierra Club declared war on natural gas, which is methane.

Here is how the Sierra Club portrayed the issue:

“Fossil fuels have no part in America’s energy future — coal, oil and natural gas are literally poisoning us. The emergence of natural gas as a significant part of our energy mix is particularly frightening because it dangerously postpones investment in clean energy at a time when we should be doubling down on wind, solar and energy efficiency.”
—Robin Mann, Sierra Club President

This is a call to use high-cost methods to generate electricity, rather than using low-cost natural gas. It’s also a call to increase home heating bills for all Americans who use natural gas for heating.

The United States has abundant supplies of low-cost natural gas, more than enough for its domestic needs, including power generation, home heating and fleets of local trucks and busses, and which also has the potential to vastly increase the number of vehicles powered by natural gas.

With huge supplies of natural gas, the United States is on the verge of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG). But this requires building export terminals, and the big environmental guns are now aimed at stopping their construction.

Without actually saying so, Obama’s climate action plan provides support for the war on natural gas.

He has called on federal agencies to prevent green house gas emissions, including methane, which, in over 100 years is 25 times more potent than CO2, is an easy target for federal agencies, such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

FERC must approve LNG export terminals, and is presently sitting on several applications for permits to build LNG export terminals.

LNG FERC Sites Map

The most direct way to stop the export of natural gas is to stop fracking, as this will end the surplus of natural gas available for export.

Fracking has resulted in abundant supplies of natural gas which have led to an industrial revival, created millions of jobs, and which will allow the United States to end oil imports, other than from Canada and Mexico.

But preventing green house gas emissions is more important to radical environmental groups than guaranteeing an abundant supply of low-cost natural gas and having North America becoming oil independent.

Killing the goose that laid the golden egg is what these environmental groups will achieve if fracking is stopped.

It’s not necessary to outlaw fracking: Enacting enough regulations to make it uneconomic achieves the same result.

An important member of the war on fracking is the Natural Resource Defense Council, which makes a seemingly innocuous statement, but one that will stop fracking.

“NRDC opposes expanded fracking until effective safeguards are in place.”

This is essentially their position on nuclear as expressed on their web site: They don’t oppose it outright, but demand stringent regulations on the entire fuel cycle, from mining to disposal of waste.

They don’t oppose it, they just want to regulate it to death.

One method of delay is to require extensive and politically vulnerable environmental studies.

The Sierra Club and 15 other environmental organizations wrote to president Obama claiming that LNG exports would contribute to global warming, and asked him to have FERC conduct an in-depth environmental impact study on the proposed Cove Point LNG export terminal.

The organizations signing the letter to Obama included:

  • Center for Health, Environment and Justice
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Chesapeake Climate Action Network
  • Earthjustice
  • Earthworks
  • Energy Action Coalition
  • Environmental Action
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Food and Water Watch
  • Sierra Club
  • Waterkeeper Alliance
  • Green America
  • Earth Day Network

Clearly, the strategy is the same as used in stopping the Keystone pipeline: delay, delay, delay; and FERC is in a position to delay approving these terminals.

Meanwhile, environmental groups are attacking fracking in an attempt to shut fracking down, the ultimate method for stopping LNG exports.

The motivation behind the opposition to natural gas, the Keystone pipeline and LNG export terminals is global warming and climate change.

At some point, Americans will have to decide whether global warming and climate change are sufficiently important to curtail their freedom and reduce their standard of living.

The EPA’s efforts to cut CO2, because of global warming and climate change will also hurt Americans. See Higher Costs Built Into EPA Proposal.

Freedom and living standards are what are at stake.

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